Is there such a thing as blessed suffering? On the surface of things, we often fail to see the blessings that come from suffering. When we have a cavity filled at the dentist office, we may at first only focus on the discomfort of the procedure and the temporary numbness of our lower lip. Yet the blessing from this “suffering” is obvious. The tooth is saved.
As we consider Holy Week this week, we focus on Christ’s blessed suffering for us. On the surface, it seems that Christ suffered for nothing, that his ministry ended in failure. Yet as he hung on that cross, he bore our sins under God’s wrath, enduring the punishment we deserved for them. From his suffering comes eternal blessing—we are rescued from our sins.
Salvation from sin is no trivial thing. Sin comes in many forms. Some sin is obvious—petty crime that troubles every community. Other sin is notorious—a gunman shooting numerous victims at a school or place of business. Most sin is not punishable by our human courts of law, for example lying to our parents, gossip, or complaining to God about one’s lot in life. But all sin is punishable in God’s court of law. He sets the Ten Commandments before us and says: “You have broken all of these!” The punishment we deserve for this is eternal, no matter who we are. This type of suffering is NOT blessed at all.
But in Christ’s suffering God showed himself as the great compassionate God. He didn’t want to punish us, but save us! That is why he sent his eternal, almighty Son to suffer for us so that we might be spared. Seven hundred years before Christ came, Isaiah prophesied about him: “He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).
In his death, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This suffering of Christ brings us blessed hope for eternity and strength to live through the day-to-day sufferings of this world! Remember this during this Holy Week.